The setting in which I am based is a large school near the centre of Birmingham. There isn’t any public woodland nearby to use for a forest school program. However, we are blessed to have a large fielded area on which we have been able to develop a small woodland area over the last few years. The plan below shows the layout of our field.
During our time using the field we have had a number of issues to consider when managing the areas; some related to the flora and fauna of the area and others related to man made influences.
Tree Management: Our woodland area is based on newly planted trees with the oldest now being three years old. The trees have needed a significant amount of care as we have a lost a number to wild animal damage and damage by children. We have replanted trees using protective sleeves and spent a significant amount of time educating the children about looking after the plants. This has allowed our trees to develop over the last few years. This year we even had a few nests in them.
Pond Area: We have a small pond in the area, it has a small wooden fence around the edge for safety. As well as maintaining the fence the pond does need regular management. Ensuring an edge is clearly defined, ensuring the water levels are maintained and reducing the volume of invasive species of plants.
Ground/Field Level Management: Within the wooded area we have noticed that in the areas that are used extensively the Ground/Field plants almost manage themselves. However, in the spring term areas that are used less frequently need the ground/field plants to be managed. This management involves cutting larges plants and grass to a lower level. We also ensure the grass on the raised earth mound and in the fire area is kept short for use during activities.
Human influences: Down one side of our wooded area runs a road with a pavement. Sadly, members of the public regularly throw rubbish over the fence into our wooded area. This issue is managed by staff checking the area and disposing of rubbish before the area is ever used.